Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track Emerald to Sassafras

Written by | Yarra/Dandenong Ranges

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The Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track follows Menzies Creek, Woori Yallock Creek, and Sassafras Creek for a stated 15km from Emerald to Sassafras. The total distance measured by us was 16.5km with a very overgrown 5km section in the middle. It seems that the start and the end of this trail are well maintained and enjoyable, however the middle section is very windy and very overgrown, almost to the point of not being enjoyable as you battle your way through and over many fallen trees and overgrown shrubbery, as well as blackberry bushes.

This is a Grade 4 walk. Total distance of the track is 16.5km. Rough track, many obstacles. Generally distinct without major modification to the ground. Encounters with fallen debris and other obstacles are likely. Limited signage. Track head signage and route markers.

Trail Head Options:

  • Clematis Puffing Billy Railway Station and walk 1.5km to Telopea Road, Emerald
  • Drive to Telopea Road, Emerald

The Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track can be quite difficult to follow at times since it crosses over many roads, sometimes joining in strange, unsuspecting places. It is usually marked out with orange arrow markers, however this are often not present at junctions along the way which may be confusing for novice walkers. As mentioned, there is also a good chunk of the trail which is rather overgrown and also difficult to navigate as a result.

Trail Features:

  • Menzies Creek
  • Woori Yallock Creek
  • Sassafras Creek

Trail Statistics:

  • Starting Point: Telopea Road, Emerald
  • Hiking Trail Difficulty: Grade 4
  • Distance: 16.5km
  • Trail Type: One Way
  • Elevation Gain: 465m
  • Elevation Loss: 235m
  • Minimum Elevation: 180m
  • Maximum Elevation: 490m
  • Time to Complete: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Ending Point: 394 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras

Trail End Options:

  • Taxi or car shuffle is your only option. Uber back to starting point is about $30.

Detailed Hiking Trail Guide:

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Telopea Road Parking for Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track to Sassafras

The starting point of the Dandenong Tourist Track is at Telopea Steps in Emerald.

Telopea Road Trail onto Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track

Head down the stairs from the car park.

Keep left here. Wherever possible try to keep to the river alongside the trail. The various offshoots usually go up to a nearby road.

The trail merges onto Avard Road. Continue up Avard Road until you get to a sharp left turn in the road.

Pass Avard Picnic Ground.

At the sharp left turn on Avard Road, the trail continues off to the right.

Occasionally the trail crosses over the river on these lovely bridges.

Keep to the left here as shown by the arrow.

Cross over Kalista-Emerald Road. There are many road crossings along this trail. Look for the orange arrows on the other side of the road. This one continues to the left on the other side of the road.

There are some lovely ferns along the trail. This one has been supported by a post so that it can continue it’s unique growth path.

Sometimes the trails are marked, sometimes they are not. Keep left here to continue alongside the river.

Another road crossing over Emerald-Monbulk Road. It’s a little confusing here as no distinct orange arrows are visible to follow.

Cross over and enter Butterfield Reserve. Continue across Old Emerald Road and through the reserve behind the car park pictured.

At the back of this small reserve space you will see the Dandenong Ranges Walking Track sign pointing towards Sassafras. Here we change from Menzies Creek onto Woori Yallock Creek. Orange arrows have gone missing here. Continue through the gap in the fence at the rear of the reserve.

Cross David Hill Road.

Cross Rankins Road where we continue on to follow Sassafras Creek.

The path crosses some local area roads – most of which are easy to pick up on the other side since our orange markers have returned.

No obvious route here – I almost got lost – cross the road and head up the small road before the bridge on the left.

The trail picks up again to the right with no orange arrows marking the way.

This looks like a fork in the trail… keep left to head through the overgrown blackberry bushes.

Straight ahead up that small road towards the orange sign you will find the continuation of the trail.

Yay! Orange markers are back again. Some navigational skills are required on this trail because if you are only following orange markers, there’s a good chance that you could become lost due to the lack of them at some intersections.

Baynes Park Road has a habit of collecting water when it’s raining and that water comes down the trail like a river as can be seen here.

The trail continues directly over the road. If it’s raining and the water has pooled across the road you may wish to hang around a bit and watch cars fly through the water as I did for a few minutes.

I turned left here and entered into Baynes Park. If you turn right you should bypass the park and continue onto the trail again.

Should you find yourself in Baynes Park, turn right and head past the funky gym on the left.

Continue straight past the gym with the rounded black beams out front and look for this bridge at the end of the road to the right, then take the left trail to continue following the creek.

The road merges back onto the trail.

Cross Monbulk Road.

The trail can be seen ahead on the other side of the small local road.

Keep to the right here as you pass Kensleys Picnic Ground.

We turned left over the next bridge into Olympic Picnic Ground and crossed another bridge out of Olympic Picnic Ground to get back onto the walking trail.

Keep right here, passing Kays Picnic Ground.

The trail comes out onto Perrins Creek Road. Walk up the road in the same direction as the trail entrance into it and look for the continuing walking trail on the right hand side of the road.

And back onto the trail again. Hello orange marker.

Keep left at this junction, not marked.

This is a confusing junction. The trail enters onto Wembley Road, turn right onto Sassafras Creek Road, then left onto Perrins Creek Road, at which point the trail will immediately follow off to the left.

Over the bridge, and turn left.

Left along the track marked by the green rubbish bin in this photo.

And then up the green rubbish bin road, you will find the orange marker leading left again onto a singletrack trail.

Cross Sassafras Creek Road and continue up the dirt road leading to the gate ahead. The trail branches off to the right of the gate.

Marked with nothing of importance, the trail continues to the right of the gate.

Cross The Crescent Road.

Only 400m to go!

Up in the clouds. Such a beautiful thing to witness. It often gets foggy up here.

Left at the junction here.

And welcome to the finishing point of Dandenong Ranges Tourist Track near 394 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras. Hopefully you’ve arranged a car pool, or you can jump in an Uber which will get you back to the starting point for about $30.

Last modified: April 20, 2018